Al Shorta SC
|Full name||Al Shorta Sports Club|
|Nickname(s)||Al Qeetharah Al Khadra (The Green Harps) – القيثارة الخضراء|
|Founded||14 November 1932as Montakhab Al Shorta|
|Ground||Baghdad Stadium (temporary),
|League||Iraqi Premier League|
|2014–15||Iraqi Premier League, 3rd|
|Website||Club home page|
Al Shorta Sports Club (Police Sports Club, Arabic: نادي الشرطة الرياضي) is an Iraqi multi-sport club based in Rusafa District, East Districts of the Tigris River, Baghdad. The oldest and best known section of the club is its football team. They are widely regarded as Iraq's best team and they are one of only two Iraqi teams to ever win any major international club competition (the other being Al-Rasheed), having won the Arab Champions League in 1982. They have won ten League of the Institutes and Iraqi Premier League titles, and most recently won the league in both the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons.
The club are one of five teams in Iraqi League history to go an entire league season unbeaten, achieving this monumental feat in the 1980–81 season and have won a joint record three Umm Al Ma'arak (mother of all battles) Cups (in 2000, 2001 and 2002).
Al Shorta were founded in 1932 under the name Montakhab Al Shorta and are the third-oldest football club in the country. The club was separated into a number of different teams in the 1960s and early 1970s, before merging back into one single team in 1974. In 1971, one of these teams (Aliyat Al Shorta) reached the final of the Asian Champions Cup (now known as the AFC Champions League) but refused to play the final against Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. Despite this, the club has won a number of trophies outside of Iraq such as the President's Gold Cup and Arab Police Championship.
- 1 History
- 2 Emblem
- 3 Kits
- 4 Supporters
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Current squad
- 7 Personnel
- 8 Al Shorta in the Iraqi League
- 9 Stadiums
- 10 Statistics and records
- 11 Managers
- 12 Major honours
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Al Shorta were founded on 14 November 1932, and are the third-oldest team in Iraq. They were founded under the name 'Montakhab Al Shorta' (Police Select XI) and this name lasted until 1962. In Montakhab Al Shorta's early years, the squad was formed of policemen in Iraq who were chosen to represent the Iraqi Police force in football tournaments. The first three tournaments that they competed in were the 1932–33, 1933–34 and 1934–35 editions of the Prince Ghazi Cup, but they failed to win any of them.
Overall, Al Shorta have won 28 trophies since their foundation. The first of them came in 1938, when Montakhab Al Shorta won the Taha Hashemi Cup after defeating Al Quwa Al Jawiya 1–0 thanks to Harbi Shabaa's goal. Montakhab Al Shorta then defeated Al Quwa Al Jawiya again a year later, this time it was 2–0. This game was the final of the Al Quwa Al Jawiya Cup, a tournament created by the runners-up themselves. In the same year, Montakhab Al Shorta crushed Al Karkh 5–1 in the final of the Olympic Club Cup to secure their third piece of silverware in two years.
In 1962, two years after the foundation of the Police Games Directorate, the club was split into a number of teams, all organised by the Police Games Directorate. These teams included Madrasa Al Shorta (Police School), Aliyat Al Shorta (Police Machinery), Kuliya Al Shorta (Police Academy), Shorta Al Najda (Police Debuties) and Shorta Al Murour (Police Traffic).
Madrasa Al Shorta won the League of the Institutes title in the 1962–63 season, but were relegated two seasons later, meanwhile Aliyat Al Shorta won back-to-back promotions in the 1961–62 and 1962–63 seasons to enter the League of the Institutes and within a few years they would come to dominate Iraqi football, winning the title in the 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70 and 1971–72 seasons and winning the Republics Cup twice in 1968 and 1969. Moreover, Aliyat Al Shorta were on the top of the table in the 1966–67 season before that edition of the competition was cancelled due to the Six-Day War. In 1971, Aliyat Al Shorta reached the final of the Asian Champion Club Tournament, now the AFC Champions League, and were set to face Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. However, Aliyat Al Shorta refused to play the Israeli side for political reasons and therefore automatically lost the game; they received a hero's welcome on their return to Baghdad. In the 1973–74 season, Kuliya Al Shorta added another honour to the club's collection by winning the Iraqi 2nd Division title.
In 1974, when the Iraqi Premier League was established, the representation of the Iraqi Police force in football changed forever as Aliyat Al Shorta merged with Shorta Al Najda and Kuliya Al Shorta to form the sports club of Al Shorta, the club we now know today. The first trophy Al Shorta won after the change was in 1976 when they won the 1976 Arab Police Quartet Championship in what was their first title outside of Iraq. 1978 saw them win it again but the tournament was under the new name of 'Arab Police Championship'. Al Shorta won the tournament for the third and final time in 1985. A year later, they competed in the Saddam International Tournament but disappointingly failed to advance past the group stages.
In between the last two Arab Police Championship triumphs was an even bigger one. Al Shorta were in the final of what would become one of the biggest tournaments around, the inaugural Arab Champions League in 1982, against Al Nejmeh, and defeated them 4–2 on aggregate over the two legs. Al Shorta are one of only two Iraqi sides to win this tournament. The next year saw Al Shorta win another tournament outside of Iraq, the President's Gold Cup, in which they defeated Malaysia 2–0 in the final. After this triumph, the club changed its name from 'Al Shorta' to 'Quwat Al Emen Al Dakhili' (Internal Security Forces). However, this name only lasted until 1984 when the name was changed back to Al Shorta and it has remained the same ever since.
Al Shorta have reached the final of the Iraq FA Cup on 5 occasions, however have lost every one. Al Shorta's first defeat was at the hands of Al Quwa Al Jawiya in 1977–78, and in 1995–96 Al Shorta lost the final to Al Zawraa. Another defeat to Al Quwa Al Jawiya followed the next season, and two consecutive 1–0 losses to Al Talaba in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons then occurred.
Since the League of the Institutes was changed to the Iraqi Premier League, Al Shorta have won five league titles, coming in the 1979–80, 1997–98, 2002–03, 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons. By winning the Iraqi League of 1997–98, Al Shorta qualified for the Al Muthabara Cup (Super Cup). Here they would play Iraq FA Cup champions Al Zawraa, however Al Shorta lost 1–0. By winning the 2012–13 Iraqi League, Al Shorta qualified for the 2014 AFC Cup, and they also entered the 2014 AFC Champions League qualifiers, but lost in the first qualifying round.
Three domestic cups would soon follow the league triumph of 1998 as Al Shorta won the Umm Al Ma’arak (mother of all battles) Cup three times in a row (after losing the final in 1997). The first win came in 2000, when Amer Mushraf's goal led Al Shorta to a 1–0 win over Al Zawraa. Maher Habeeb's late goal in extra-time led Al Shorta to a win in the 2001–02 season over Al Talaba and Al Talaba would lose again to Al Shorta in the next edition of the tournament thanks to another Amer Mushraf goal.
After the 2002 Umm Al Ma'arak Cup success, Al Shorta competed in the Al-Quds International Championship, and won the tournament by defeating Al Najaf 1–0 in the final from a goal from Ahmed Hussein Adan. Al Shorta won yet another competition in 2013, the Baghdad Cup, by defeating Al Zawraa 1–0 in the final due to Hussein Karim's goal.
Al Shorta have performed respectively in continental competitions of recent years, including coming in 4th place in the Algomhuria International Cup in 2004. They qualified to the AFC Champions League in both 2004 and 2005, but failed to get past the group stage in both tournaments, and they failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Champions League, losing their only qualifying match 1–0 to Al Kuwait S.C. As a result, they participated in the AFC Cup for the first time in their history in 2014 but, disappointingly, they were knocked out in the group stage; they went one step further in 2015 by reaching the round of 16 but suffered another defeat to Al Kuwait S.C. which knocked them out. They also failed to get out of group stages in both the Asian Club Championship in 1999–00 and the Arab Champions League (Prince Faisal bin Fahd Tournament for Arab Clubs) in 2003. Furthermore, Al Shorta competed in the 1997–98 Asian Cup Winners' Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the tournament.
After starting the 2006–07 season brilliantly by being the only team to win all their games in the first group, including two victories over Al Quwa Al Jawiya, Al Shorta were eventually knocked out in the final (elite) stage of the competition.
In 2007–08 they topped their first group but finished third in the final (elite) stage, one place away from the next round.
In 2008–09 they failed to get through Group A with a disappointing eighth-place finish.
In 2009–10, Al Shorta were very close to the semi-finals. They were 2–0 up to Al Najaf knowing that a win would qualify them, but they drew the game 2–2 and Al Talaba qualified one point ahead of them. In this season they also managed to beat Arbil away from home 1–0; Al Quwa Al Jawiya and Al Talaba were the only other teams who managed to do this.
In 2010–11, Al Shorta finished eighth in the North Group, one place ahead of the relegation zone.
Al Shorta had a fantastic 2012–13 season, winning the Iraqi Premier League for the first time since 2003 and losing just two games in the entire season. They clinched the league title on the final day of the season by beating Al Talaba 3–0, sparking wild celebrations in the national stadium. They also defeated Al Zawraa 1–0 to win the 2013 Baghdad Cup. As league champions, Al Shorta qualified for the AFC Cup for the first time in their history.
The 2013–14 season was another successful one for the club as they won their second league title in a row, albeit in totally different circumstances. After playing 21 games, they were top of the league with games in hand over most of the teams in the league but the competition was ended prematurely due to unrest in the country. The IFA decided that the standings were to remain the same, meaning that Al Shorta were the champions for the fourth time in their history. They played in their first ever AFC Cup in the 2013–14 season but failed to advance past the group stages, playing out four goalless draws from six games.
The 2014–15 season started very well for Al Shorta as they topped their first group with twelve wins, four draws and no defeats, finishing a huge fifteen points ahead of the team in second place. However, they were knocked out in the final stage, finishing in second place in their group, one win away from the final. They thus qualified for the third place match, but their opponents Al-Minaa did not turn up to the match so Al Shorta were awarded a 3–0 win and third place. On the international level, Al Shorta reached the round of 16 of the AFC Cup (the furthest they have ever reached in that competition) but were eliminated after a 2–0 loss to Al Kuwait S.C.
Al Shorta have used five different emblems since the start of the new millenium. The first of those was circular and was based on the Iraq flag, with the word Police (the club's English name) written on the red band of the flag and the word Iraq written in capitals on the black band of the flag. Al Shorta adopted a new crest from 2005 featuring mainly the colours blue and green. On the top and bottom of the logo was written the club's name in Arabic and English, whilst a green harp (reflective of the club's nickname) featured in the centre of the logo with the year 1975 (the first full year of Al Shorta Sports Club's existence) written on either side in Arabic and English.
That logo lasted for just one season before the club changed again; the new logo featured mainly green as opposed to blue but just like the previous logo also featured a green harp in the middle. The three bands of the Iraq flag made up the harp's strings, whilst the club's name and year of foundation were displayed at the bottom. Al Shorta returned to the blue and green logo in 2008 though and used it for the next four years, before once again changing back in 2012. Midway through the 2012–13 season, Al Shorta adopted a brand new white circular logo with a golden outline. The club's year of foundation as well as their Arabic and English names featured at the bottom of the logo, below the Olympic rings (which were there to signify that Al Shorta were a sports club as opposed to just a football club). Again, a green harp featured in the centre of the logo. Al Shorta ended up winning the league that season.
Al Shorta only used that logo for five months though, and decided to adopt the logo that they currently use today midway through the 2013–14 season. As opposed to the previous three logos, the harp in the centre of the logo is gold rather than green, and gold is a prevalent colour in the current crest. The foundation year of the club is at the top with the Iraqi flag at the bottom, below the words Al Shorta Sports Club.
The home kit is all green with white trimmings, and the away kit is all white with green trimmings. The third shirt is claret with blue trimmings, whilst the shorts are blue and the socks consist of claret and blue hoops. Al Shorta's kits are manufactured by Uhlsport.
In 2012, Al Shorta supporters founded a group known as Ultras Green Harp. The supporters group has become well-known throughout Iraqi football as the most passionate group of football fans in Iraq and the group's banners and logos can be seen in any stadium that their club play in. The number of group members is increasing as the club is becoming more and more famous throughout Asia. The foundation of this group has significantly increased both the number of Al Shorta fans in stadiums and their presence in matches.
Al Quwa Al Jawiya are their most local rivals but Al Zawraa are commonly thought of as their most historic rivals.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant manager:||Muayed Joudi|
|Assistant manager:||Ghalib Abdul Hussein|
|Assistant manager:||Ahmed Juma|
|Goalkeeping coach:||Hussein Jabbar|
|Director of football:||Hashim Ridha|
Al Shorta in the Iraqi League
* = Overall position in the league not official but approximated based on positions in the groups.
|2002–03||1||19||15||3||1||46||12||48||Runners-up||Winners||Group stage||Also won the Al-Quds Intl. Championship|
|2003–04||6||5||1||0||19||4||Semi-finals||Group stage||League abandoned|
|2004–05||11||18||7||3||8||26||19||Group stage||Came 4th in Algomhuria International Cup|
|2012–13||1||34||20||12||2||62||29||72||Also won the Baghdad Cup|
|2013–14||1||21||12||7||2||29||13||43||First qualifying round||Group Stage|
|2014–15||3||23||16||5||2||44||12||Round of 16|
- From the 2003–04 season, the competition changed from the single league system to a system with various rounds including groups and knockout rounds.
- From the 2011–12 season, the competition went back to the single league system.
- In the 2014–15 season, the competition returned to a system with various rounds.
- Positions in italics are not official but approximated based on positions in the groups.
Al Shorta Stadium
Al Shorta Stadium was the name of Al Shorta's old home ground. It held approximately 7,000 people. The white hall on the side of the field could hold approximately 2,000 people. The stadium had no seats, but instead there were stairs on each side of the playing field and spectators sat or stood on these stairs. It was home to many great matches for Al Shorta. It was built by volunteers and Al Shorta fans and staff at the club, making the stadium even more special. Abdul-Kadir Zeinal, Al Shorta's manager from 1975 to 1979, was the man who came up with the idea of building the stadium and the supporters approved of the idea and helped to build the stadium. After a few years of construction, the stadium was opened in 1983. During the mid-2000s, the stands were painted green and white to match the club's colours. It was demolished in 2014 to make way for Al Shorta Sports City.
Al Shorta Sports City
Early in the 2012–13 season, Al Shorta's president at the time, Ayad Bunyan, announced plans to build a new stadium with plastic seats and other sports facilities around it. On 20 December 2013, the chairman of Nordic Sport (the Swedish company who is building the stadium) announced the initiation of construction of Al Shorta Sports City. Rather than being just a stadium, it is a 'sports city' because of the many more sports facilities, sports halls, buildings and entertainment at the venue.
The sports city includes an all-seater stadium with a capacity of over 10,000 as well as other sports facilities and the whole project is expected to take about 810 days from when construction begins in October 2014, which is about two years and three months. However, the construction of the all-seater stadium on its own should take six or seven months to complete, meaning that Al Shorta will be able to use the stadium in the 2016–17 season. The project will cost over 22 million pounds.
On 7 January 2015, AKG Engineering released a video showing what Al Shorta Sports City should look like once construction is completed. The stands will have purple and green seats (a testament to the great Aliyat Al Shorta team of the 1960s and 1970s) and some white seats on the main stand will spell out the words 'Police Club' alongside the club's name in Arabic. The main stand will have a roof over it. Next to the stadium will be a training field where players will train every week and this training field will have an athletics track around it. Also at the sports city will be an indoor swimming pool with 1,500 seats, a multi-purpose closed hall with 2,500 seats, a full-quality relaxation club (with sports facilities), restaurants, theatres, meeting areas and a shopping centre among other things.
Statistics and records
Al Shorta's tally of five Iraqi Premier League titles is the second highest in history and their tally of five overall League of the Institutes titles is the highest in Iraqi football history. Their total of three Umm Al Ma'arak Cups is also the highest, joint with Al Zawraa, Al Talaba and Al Quwa Al Jawiya, and they are the only team to have won the tournament three times in a row. Al Shorta are one of only two Iraqi clubs to have ever won a major international club competition when they won the first ever Arab Champions League in 1982. They are also one of two Iraqi clubs to reach the final of the AFC Champions League, however Al Shorta withdrew from the game. Al Shorta and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya are the only two sides to have featured in every Iraqi Premier League season since its inception in 1974.
Abid Kadhim holds the record for the most appearances for Al Shorta, and he also managed the club two different times after his playing career. Younis Abid Ali has scored the most goals for Al Shorta in their history, and his tally of 153 Iraqi League goals is the fourth highest in the history of the league. His tally of 36 goals in the 1993–94 season is the highest number of goals that a player has scored in a single Iraqi League season.
In 2014, a record number of Al Shorta players were called up for a matchday squad by the Iraq national team. Ten players in total were called up for a friendly with Kuwait; these players were Mohammed Hameed, Salam Shakir, Ali Bahjat, Waleed Salem, Dhirgham Ismail, Mahdi Karim, Amjad Kalaf, Mahdi Kamil, Alaa Abdul-Zahra and Marwan Hussein. Another record was set when seven Al Shorta players started the game (the most in history) with those seven being the entire back-four (Ali Bahjat, Salam Shakir, Dhirgham Ismail and Mahdi Karim) and three attacking players (Amjad Kalaf, Alaa Abdul-Zahra and Marwan Hussein). Also, Waleed Salem was substituted onto the field during the game, which ended 1–1.
The record for number of Al Shorta players called up for an Iraq matchday squad was equalled in March 2015 when Mohammed Gassid, Mohammed Hameed, Salam Shakir, Ali Bahjat, Dhirgham Ismail, Hussein Abdul-Wahed, Amjad Kalaf, Mahdi Kamil, Alaa Abdul-Zahra and Marwan Hussein made up ten of the 25 players for the squad chosen for two friendlies against DR Congo.
Iraq called up nine Al Shorta players for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, setting a new record for the highest number of Al Shorta players ever called up by Iraq for a major competition. These nine players were Mohammed Hameed, Salam Shakir, Ali Bahjat, Waleed Salem, Dhirgham Ismail, Amjad Kalaf, Mahdi Kamil, Alaa Abdul-Zahra and Marwan Hussein.
Al Shorta finished the 1980–81 Iraqi League season without having lost a single game; four other clubs (Al Zawraa, Al Minaa, Salahaddin and Al Jaish) have also achieved this feat since the inception of the Iraqi Premier League in 1974. Al Shorta were the first team to play 100 Iraqi League games, the first team to play 200 Iraqi League games, the first team to play 300 Iraqi League games and the second team to play 1000 Iraqi League games. Al Shorta were ranked as the 35th best Asian club of the century (1901–2000), and the 154th best Asian club in the last decade (2001–2010) by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics). Al Shorta were also ranked as the 169th best club in the world by IFFHS from 01/08/2001 to 30/07/2002.
Al Shorta Sports Club has teams in lots of different sports, as its name implies. It has teams in basketball, volleyball, handball, weightlifting, swimming and other sports. However, the club invests most of its money into football and is best known for its football team's achievements.
Below are all of Al Shorta's football managers since they were founded as a sports club in 1974.
- Iraq national coach Najih Humoud was assigned by the Iraq FA to manage the club during their 1999–2000 Asian Club Championship campaign.
- Winners (10): 1962–63, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1979–80, 1997–98, 2002–03, 2012–13, 2013–14
- Runners-up (7): 1964–65, 1965–66, 1970–71, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1978–79, 1980–81
- Winners (3): 2000, 2001, 2002
- Runners-up (1): 1997
- Semi-finals (2): 1996, 2003
- Republics Cup
- Winners (2): 1968, 1969
- Winners (1): 2013
- Olympic Club Cup
- Winners (1): 1939
- Al Quwa Al Jawiya Cup
- Winners (1): 1939
- Taha Hashemi Cup
- Winners (1): 1938
- Runners-up (5): 1977–78, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2001–02, 2002–03
- Runners-up (1): 1998
- Al Intisar Al Salam Cup
- Runners-up (1): 1992
- Runners-up (1): 1971 (refused to play final against Maccabi Tel Aviv for political reasons)
- Quarter-finals (1): 1999–00
- Group stage (2): 2004, 2005
- First qualifying round (1): 2014
- Quarter-finals (1): 1997–98
- Arab Police Championship Cup
- Winners (3): 1976, 1978, 1985
- Al-Quds International Championship
- Winners (1): 2002
- Algomhuria International Cup
- Fourth place (1): 2004
- President's Gold Cup
- Winners (1): 1983
- Saddam International Tournament
- Group stage (1): 1986
- "Al Shorta sign official deal with kit manufacturer Nike (2014–15 season)". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
- Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta – History". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
- Al Shorta SC Website - History
- Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta – Players and Transfers". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
- AKG Engineering. "Al Shorta Sports City". AKG Engineering. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
- Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta Sports City". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Refel Hashim, Hassanin Mubarak and Mohammed Qayed. "Iraq – List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- IFFHS. "Asia's Club of the Century". IFFHS. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- IFFHS. "Asia's Club of the 1st Decade of the 21st Century". IFFHS. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- Xtra Time. "Club World Ranking IFFHS". Xtra Time. Retrieved 2002-08-06.
- Al Shorta website. "Al Shorta – History". Al Shorta website. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
- Mubarak, Hassanin. "Al-Shurta – Coaches". RSSSF. Retrieved 2013-05-10.